The Saratoga Sun -

I'm gonna get you, sucka!

Chamber offers $500 prize for biggest sucker fish caught at this weekend's Ice Fishing Derby


January 17, 2018

Saratoga Sun file photo.

Some of the many ice huts on the Saratoga Lake during last year's event.

Any group running an event with longevity knows that to keep people interested it has to keep things fresh. Case in point: the Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby. Started in 1983, with two prizes of $25,000 and a 1982 Jeep CJ-5, the annual event is entering its 35th year and has introduced a new competition aimed to make suckers of everyone.

The "Sucker Skirmish" is available to all official Saratoga Lake Ice Fishing Derby registrants and encourages them to bring sucker fish caught during derby hours to the Official Derby Tent for judging. Suckers will be measured for length and girth with the two measurements being added together for the overall score.

While the Judge will do his best to make things fair, according to the official rules, anyone with complaints will be automatically volunteered to be Judge the following year.

Rules for the competition discourage cheating, entrants must be official registrants and suckers caught during derby hours. The buying off of Official Derby Judges in the form of "tax-deductible bribes," however, is not only allowed but encouraged. Any person hoping to bribe the Judge must sneak up to the derby tent with cookies, goodies, or other items of bribery. The hand-off of the bribes must be covert as well.

Regular participants in the fishing derby are no doubt familiar with catching sucker fish during the event.

"We noticed an increase in the amount of suckers over the last couple of years," said Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce CEO Stacy Crimmins, "Our sponsors came to us and said that if we figured out a way to take care of the suckers they would offer a cash prize."

While this may be the inaugural year of the "Sucker Skirmish" the logistics had been in progress for a few years.

"When people catch suckers they leave them on the ice, which what we want. We don't want sucker fish in the lake. This is just a fun way for people to do the right thing," added Crimmins.

A 2nd weigh station will be located next to the main station for people to get their suckers measured. A winner of the competition will be announced on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The person with the "biggest sucka" will win more than just a $500 cash prize! The winner of the "Sucker Skirmish" will also receive "braggin' rights" until the next fishing derby as well as a weekend of ice-fishing at Silver Spur Ranches.

Rules for the "Sucker Skirmish" can be downloaded from the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber website:


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